PRE-SENTENCE REPORT GUIDANCE FOR PROLIFIC & PRIORITY OFFENDERS

PURPOSE
To correct minor technical errors in PC33/2005 issued on 28 April 2005 which provided guidance to report (PSR) authors on recommendations in reports for prolific and other priority offenders.

Probation Circular
REFERENCE NO: 33A/2005 ISSUE DATE: 17 June 2005 IMPLEMENTATION DATE: Immediate EXPIRY DATE: April 2010 TO: Chairs of Probation Boards Chief Officers of Probation Secretaries of Probation Boards CC: Board Treasurers Regional Managers AUTHORISED BY: Claire Wiggins, Head of Intensive Interventions ATTACHED: N/A

ACTION
Chief Officers and Assistant Chief Officers (and PPO leads) to note the contents and distribute to all relevant staff.

SUMMARY
This circular revises PC33/2005 in the following areas: • The commencement date for the Criminal Justice Act 2003 • The principle of persistency in the CJA 2003 was not commenced • The wording of the Activity Requirement in the example court report has been updated in accordance with PC25/2005 The substantive content i.e. that PPO ‘status’ should not be included in reports remains unchanged. Areas are asked to replace PC33/2005 with this PC with immediate effect. PC33/2005 is cancelled. The guidance states that while the term ‘identified PPO’ can be used for internal offender management purposes the term ‘PPO’ should not be referred to in Court reports. A review of the guidance will take place six months post implementation in order to assess the impact of the guidance on service delivery.

RELEVANT PREVIOUS PROBATION CIRCULARS
PC70/2003, PC39/2004, PC41/2004, PC47/2004, PC51/2004, PC33/2005

CONTACT FOR ENQUIRIES:
Programme Implementation Manager: Lisa Cox, 020 7217 0683, Lisa.cox2@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk Head of Intensive Interventions: Claire Wiggins; 020 7217 8646 Claire.wiggins3@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

National Probation Directorate
Horseferry House, Dean Ryle Street, London, SW1P 2AW

SUPPLEMENTA RY GUIDANCEREH ABILITATE
General Enquiries: 020 7217 0659 Fax: 020 7217 0660

Enforcement, rehabilitation and public protection

CORRIGENDUM
PC 33/2005 gave guidance for pre-sentence report writers to assist them with writing reports on offenders who are identified as Prolific or other Priority offenders (referred to as PPOs in the remainder of this document), by their local Crime & Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP). Guidance from the Senior Presiding Judge was issued to the Judiciary on the sentencing of PPOs at the same time. The guidance included some technical errors. PC33/2005 in the following areas: This circular therefore amends and updates

• The commencement date for the Community Order and Suspended Sentence under Criminal Justice Act 2003 – The commencement date for the Community Order and Suspended Sentence CJA 2003 is 4th April 2005. Offences committed before this date will be sentenced under the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 • The principle of persistency in the CJA 2003 was not commenced – Section 151 of the CJA 2003 was not commenced. Courts cannot propose a community order where the offence is not serious enough for a community order regardless of persistency • The Activity Requirement in the example PSR conclusion is inconsistent with guidance given to areas in PC25/2005 – the guidance in PC25/2005 noted that areas should have a generic requirement for ETE activities and that the requirement should normally specify the exact number of days Aside from the aforementioned points, PC33/2005 remains unchanged. In order to avoid unnecessary confusion however, areas are asked to disregard PC33/2005 and implement this current PC with immediate effect.

INTRODUCTION
This document provides pre-sentence report writers with guidance on writing reports on offenders who are identified as Prolific or other Priority Offenders (referred to as PPOs in the remainder of this document), by their local Crime & Disorder Reduction Partnership scheme (CDRP). The guidance is complemented by the revised 2002 National Standards for the Supervision of Offenders 2005 and the PSR Framework Circular issued in March 2005. For the purpose of sentencing, an offender’s Prolific & other Priority Offender status is irrelevant and it is only proper to put before the court verifiable information (such as records and details of previous convictions) to sentence an offender. However for the purpose of monitoring and managing the offender, the offender’s PPO status is relevant and should be known by all parties concerned with the management of that case. This guidance therefore provides clarity on what factual information should be put before the court in pre-sentence reports for the purposes of sentencing PPOs. The guidance fits with the plans for implementing the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and has been agreed with a number of key stakeholders; the names of which are listed at the end of this document. The aim of the document is to provide staff responsible for writing pre-sentence reports on PPOs with a consistent framework for writing such reports. In addition the guidance clarifies what information can be used as a source for court reports. Local policy and procedures will complement this guidance enabling compliance with minimum National Standards for reports. Information gained from the PPO Performance Management Framework and NPD Monitoring will be used to review and refine this guidance. The NPS will implement this guidance from the 4 April 05. This guidance is applicable to adults only. Guidance for Juvenile offenders will be issued shortly. Guidance from the Senior Presiding Judge will also be issued to the Judiciary on the sentencing of PPOs.
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PROLIFIC & OTHER PRIORITY OFFENDER: PRE-SENTENCE REPORT GUIDELINES V.2
BACKGROUND TO THE PPO STRATEGY 1. The Prolific and other Priority Offender (PPO) strategy which has been endorsed by the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary has been developed by the Crime Strategy and Resources Unit, within the Crime Reduction Directorate of the Home Office, to tackle those offenders who are identified locally as being the most prolific or causing the greatest harm. This is a single, coherent initiative in three complementary strands (prevent and deter, catch and convict, resettle and rehabilitate) to reduce crime by targeting those who offend the most or otherwise cause the most harm to their communities. 2. The aim is to tackle the 5,000 prolific and other priority offenders (0.5% of active offenders) who commit a disproportionate amount (10%) of all crime each year. It replaces the Persistent Offender Scheme under the Narrowing the Justice Gap initiative and utilises locally agreed definitions of ‘persistence’ rather than a national definition. It is delivered through local CDRPs with associated responsibilities for LCJBs and government offices. Probation areas were required to commence PPO schemes by 6 September 04 What is a PPO Scheme? 3. PPO schemes are multi-agency partnerships, based on a very close working relationship between the police and probation services to identify, monitor and intensively manage a key target group of offenders (PPOs) in a local area. The schemes can be real or virtual in form, depending on locally developed arrangements. 4. Probation areas are encouraged, wherever possible, to be actively engaged in the identification process of PPOs by their local schemes as described in the initial Catch and Convict Framework Guidance issued in July 2004. 5. Areas are also encouraged to inform their local courts and sentencers about the local PPO scheme and its objectives as part of the routine meetings between probation areas and the courts regarding probation practice. 6. Once an individual is identified, schemes are expected to manage offenders through a combination of enforcement measures and incentives to change behaviour. Therefore the aims of the schemes are to: • enhance arrest, investigation, detection, charging and prosecution of offenders, bringing to justice as much of the criminality committed by the targeted PPOs as possible; • reduce re-offending of PPOs, and consequently reduce the number of victims of crime; • develop a rapid and effective partnership which enables effective supervision and monitoring of PPOs; • address non-compliance/re-offending speedily and effectively. 5. Schemes are expected to provide incentives to change through providing the specific support and rehabilitation needs of the offender, drawing upon relevant agencies and services to meet these. Case management of statutory offenders1 would be undertaken by the probation service as part of the overall scheme.

Statutory offenders are those that are subject to statutory supervision either through the imposition of a court order or post release supervision PC33A/2005 – Pre-sentence Report Guidance for Prolific & Priority Offenders 3

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MAIN GUIDANCE The NPS business plan for 2005/6 confirms PPOs are one of the main priorities for NPS in 2005/6. The following sections outline the main principles and guidance for report writers. All probation areas are expected to adhere to this guidance in respect of PPOs from 4 April 2005. For the purposes of this guidance where the term ‘identified as a PPO’ is used this term is for internal offender management purposes only and should not be used in court reports. Principles 1. Court reports should provide the courts with objective, impartial information that is verified and factually accurate. 2. All assessments for intensive community orders are based on the use of the Offender Assessment System (OASys) and other relevant assessments e.g. ASSET, those carried out by CJITs and treatment providers. 3. The report should assist the court to pass the most appropriate sentence based on the facts brought before it and provide sentencers with the confidence that arrangements are in place to manage the offender’s offending behaviour and reduce the risk of re-offending. 4. Source information is clearly specified. 5. The report is written in line with the relevant governing legislation i.e. under the Criminal Justice Act 2003. In particular the sentence must be commensurate with the seriousness of the offending irrespective of PPO status Guidance 1. All probation areas should establish administrative processes for maintaining and providing up to date information on PPOs throughout the sentencing process. An example of this is providing dedicated administrative support to collate CPS documentation and other relevant information at the point of the PSR adjournment. 2. Where offenders have been identified as a Prolific or other Priority Offender, a Standard Delivery PSR should be completed following a full OASys assessment. There may be exceptions to this where a Fast Delivery Report has been requested. For further guidance on the CJA sentencing process and model, please refer to the National Implementation Guide for the Criminal Justice Act 2003 community sentence provisions and the PSR Framework Circular. 3. There may be occasions when the courts have indicated that an offender is suitable for sentence within the community sentence band and have requested a Fast Delivery PSR. Where in such cases probation staff receive verifiable information that the offender’s likelihood of offending is high, they should request an adjournment to complete a Standard Delivery PSR based on a full OASys Assessment. This will allow sufficient time to take account of the full facts of the offender’s offending and for an assessment of the most suitable sentence to be made. Fast Delivery PSRs on offenders who present a high likelihood of re-offending should only be used in exceptional circumstances and with the agreement of a probation manager, although the final decision on which type of PSR is used remains with the courts. Magistrates do not need to know the offender’s PPO status and the court liaison officer should be able to explain the reasons why a Standard Delivery PSR is required without disclosing the offender’s PPO status. 4. Clearly both custodial and non-custodial sentences should be considered for all PPOs providing these are commensurate with the seriousness of the offence(s).There is no presumption that custodial sentences are the more appropriate and, in many cases, effectively enforced community sentences may offer a better prospect of rehabilitation and resettlement. Equally, however, there
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will be cases where a custodial sentence will be appropriate both in terms of public protection and the offending history of the individual. 5. Prolific and other Priority Offender (PPO) is not a legal term and is defined differently in each area. PSRs should not therefore contain local definitions of persistency or use of the term 'Prolific and other Priority Offender' to describe an offender. The same applies if oral evidence is required. In all cases involving an identified Prolific and other Priority Offender the pre-sentence report should contain as a minimum: • • • • • a full analysis of the pattern of offending behaviour; the nature of previous offending; the response to previous disposals; a full risk assessment of re-offending and harm and; The actions identified to manage and to reduce risk.

6. As a consequence of the introduction of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, probation staff should no longer propose ICCP or Intensive Supervision & Monitoring Schemes in their pre-sentence reports for offences committed on or after 4 April 2005. Reports should only refer to ICCP or ISM schemes where an offence occurs prior to 4 April 2005 and the offender is being sentenced under the preceding legislation. 7. Where an offender is identified as a PPO and assessed as suitable for a community order, the PSR author should propose that an offender is sentenced to an 'intensive community order’ (as with other offenders who meet the top end of the community sentence threshold), selecting particular requirements specifically targeted to meet the identified offending related needs (see example of a PSR conclusion at Appendix One). The report should also clearly state who should have responsibility for managing the various elements of the order in the context of close cooperation with the police through information exchange and surveillance and any review periods. 8. As a transitional arrangement, where the probation area has an existing prolific offenders’ scheme and a PSR proposal for an intensive sentence under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 is being made, the report can reference that the sentence proposed is similar to the existing scheme that is jointly managed by police and probation for those offenders whose offending levels are high. A short description of the scheme should be attached as an appendix to the report. This transitional arrangement should only reflect current practice that is familiar to the local courts. In areas where the PPO scheme is new or relatively underdeveloped and the courts are not familiar with the local scheme, then references to a ‘prolific or other priority scheme’ should be avoided. 9. The new sentencing provisions in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 are not retrospective and where a PPO has committed an offence before 4 April 2005 PSR authors are required to propose sentences under the preceding legislation e.g. Community Rehabilitation Order.2 The provisions of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 must apply even if the offender is sentenced after 4 April 05. For cases where the offence was committed on or after 4 April 2005 the sentencing provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 apply. PSR authors when preparing a court report on a PPO should outline the specific requirements of the sentence proposed and how these will meet the offending needs identified (see Considerations attached at Appendix Two). Information gathered from sources that are not verifiable or factual must not be included in presentence reports. Examples of this are as follows: • Information from Police Intelligence that is not verifiable or cannot be confirmed by the offender. • Information from 3rd parties or provided by informants that cannot be verified.
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Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 5

PC33A/2005 – Pre-sentence Report Guidance for Prolific & Priority Offenders

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Arrest records that have not resulted in a conviction. Post conviction admissions (write offs). Information on stop checks and criminal associates. Impact on community (this is where there are noticeable changes in a particular type of offence for that area).

10. In preparing the PSR, probation staff can only use information on persistency that is verifiable – that can be confirmed by the offender or other sources (e.g. case file, previous convictions, CPS outline) as part of the normal PSR interview and information gathering process. Information that could be usefully used in a pre-sentence report providing it is evidenced is as follows: • Convictions and cautions. • Full genogram – i.e. family history (this could be used to verify information that has already been provided in previous records or by the offender in the PSR interview process). • Changes in victim awareness, responses to previous disposals and offender treatment, responses to assistance provided, prison reports. • Changing Modus Operandi (MO) in offender life cycle. This is where the motivation for offending changes and the offender begins to commit different offences or approaches their offending in a different manner to previous approaches. • Information from National Intelligence Model which is confirmed by the offender or other sources. 11. In some cases there may be examples where an intensive package would not be justified by the seriousness of the offence. An example of this is where an offender is identified as a PPO according to police intelligence, but their current offence/previous offence(s) is not serious enough to warrant an enhanced level of supervision. In these circumstances probation officers should ensure that their proposal to the Court is that the offender is made subject, as a basic minimum, to supervision/supervision requirement (within which information exchange with the Police will be managed) and a restrictive requirement i.e. curfew/unpaid work requirement.
12. In the case of an offender having been previously identified as a PPO, and who has been de-

registered (i.e. taken off the scheme) but has committed a further offence, reference should be made to that offender's progress on the previous order as part of their response to supervision. The court would need to know the offender’s response to previous sentences but does not need to know the previous PPO status. Information on the length of time between convictions should also be included, as well as whether the current offence forms part of a pattern of offending.

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APPENDIX ONE This is an example of a PSR conclusion in relation to a PPO. It is provided to assist PSR authors to frame conclusions in PPO cases, but should not be regarded as a template as the circumstances of each case will be different. The example relates to offences committed on or after 4 April 05 where a Community Order is available. Under the transitional arrangements for the Criminal Justice Act 2003 where a PPO has committed an offence before the 4th April 2005 PSR authors are required to propose sentences under the existing legislation e.g. Community Rehabilitation Order. “The Court has indicated that this offence is serious enough for a community sentence. I have taken account of the Court’s indications of the seriousness of the offending and their intended purposes of sentencing, and have made an assessment of Ms X’s individual circumstances. This is Ms X’s 10th offence of a similar nature within a 5-month period. Based on this and a summary of other relevant information (e.g. drug misuse etc) it is clear that she is developing a pattern of offending and that the likelihood of re-offending is high. I consider that this will be most effectively reduced if the factors underlying Ms X’s offending are addressed as part of an intensive, structured community sentence designed to first control her behaviour while working toward longer term change. Such an intervention would include close supervision, with an expectation of four weekly contacts; an electronically monitored curfew; participation in the Think First Programme consisting of 22 half day sessions of groupwork; unpaid work for the benefit of the community; and work to improve her basic skills and thus improve her employment prospects. As well as the reparative and rehabilitative benefits of this intervention this sentence also aims to interrupt any future offending and increase offender rehabilitation through police and probation information exchange and/or police surveillance. This will lead to swift action in the event of further offending. This proposal would involve use of a scheme which contains many of the features of existing schemes that are jointly managed by Police and Probation for those offenders whose offending levels are high (Please note that this sentence should only be inserted for transitional purposes in those areas where there is an established scheme). Such a sentence would represent a significant degree of restriction of liberty, which the Court may consider to be commensurate with the seriousness of Ms X’s offences. Were the Court to accept this proposal, I would ask that Ms X be made the subject of a Community Order consisting of the following requirements: 1. A Supervision Requirement for a period of two years. 2. A Requirement to complete the Think First Programme at (name of probation centre), as directed by the Responsible Officer. 3. A Requirement to perform 50 hours of Unpaid Work as directed by the Responsible Officer. 4. An Activity Requirement, specifically to undertake education, training and employment activities and any remedial work arising from that assessment, as directed by the Responsible Officer, for 30 days. 5. An electronically monitored Curfew Requirement, to remain at her home address every day between 10pm and 7am, for a period of 60 days. I have ascertained that Ms X’s address is suitable for the necessary equipment to be installed, and that a Curfew Requirement as proposed would not have any adverse effect on other members of the household.”

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APPENDIX TWO CONSIDERATIONS Recommendation about sentence should be made in light of the offender’s high level of offending, patterns of criminal behaviour, responses to earlier sentences and risk of re-offending, not because the local CDRP had assessed the offender as a PPO. The following provides further the rationale for the guidance: 1. NPS is committed to the PPOs strategy and to providing intensive supervision and monitoring to locally defined PPOs. PSRs would continue to: • Assess patterns of offending, risks of re-offending and risks of harm. • Assess contributory factors to offending and identify the community sentence most likely to reduce risks of offending/harm. • Give details of all proposed requirements to be included in the community order and reasons for proposing them. This will include frequency of reporting. • Make courts aware that the community sentence would be carried out in the context of information exchange between police and probation and heightened surveillance. • Informing court of prompt enforcement procedures in the event of non-compliance. 2. The aim of the PSR is to assist the court in passing the most appropriate sentence. This involves an assessment of offence patterns, risks of re-offending and action required to reduce it. A number of tools (OASys, Thornton Risk Matrix, and OGRS) have been developed to improve the assessment process. PSR authors have consistently been advised that whilst these tools should inform their reports, actual scores or risk categories should not be quoted. The PPO label is a definition formed on the basis of locally agreed criteria, which will not be before the court. PSR authors should not use the PPO label as a short cut to a full assessment of offending behaviour. They should however be advised to draw on relevant factors which led to an offender being identified as a PPO in making their assessments. 3. PPO status will vary between areas - An offender who meets the criteria in one area may not meet it in another. The PSR author may legitimately not know of an offender’s PPO status in the area in which they plan to live post sentence. A full assessment of offending and action required to reduce it, is therefore more valid than relying on the PPO label. If a community sentence is imposed in an area where the offender meets the local PPO criteria, but he/she then moves to an area where he/she does not meet the criteria, the same package of supervision can be delivered although the police surveillance may not apply. 4. PPO status can change over time – PPOs can be added and removed from PPO schemes. Courts are sometimes referred to old PSRs to inform sentence and PPO status may well have changed, leading to inappropriate labelling and sentencing. 5. PPO status will be partly determined by police intelligence - Where offenders meet local PPO criteria owing to police intelligence rather than actual convictions, the issues for PSR writers are more complex. Referring to an offender as a PPO simply disregards this issue. It means the factors linked to heightened risks of re-offending and reasons for proposing a more intensive community order have not been made explicit in the report. In low crime areas, PPOs are likely to include low level nuisance offending, which might exacerbate the risks of relying on the PPO label to determine the most appropriate sentence as opposed to a full assessment of offending 6. Section 151 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, recognised persistence as a statutory aggravating factor in sentencing for offences that should have resulted in a fine or conditional discharge. This section of the Act has not been commenced. If the offence is not serious enough for a community
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order a community order cannot be passed regardless of the degree of persistence. The court can however impose a Community Order for a series of minor offences before the court for the first time, where their total impact means the seriousness of offending is above the Community threshold. 7. The Sentencing Guidelines Council states that the key factor in determining whether sentencing levels should be enhanced in response to prevalence will be the level of harm being caused to the local community. Enhanced sentences should be exceptional and in response to exceptional circumstances. Sentences passed must return to nationally accepted levels once the prevalence has been addressed.

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Many thanks to the contributors listed below who formed the PPO PSR working group and who were consulted as part of the development of the guidance: Senior Presiding Judge Thomas LJ NPD Public Protection & Courts – Oliver Dean NPD – Stuart McPhillips, Regional Manager North East NPS – Andy Victor, Nottinghamshire Probation Area NPS - Vivien McNaughton, London Probation Area HO PPO Team – Chetan Patel & Peter Pettit OCJR – Alex Lahood HMCS – Ron Sargent MCA – St. John Pilkington CPS – John Kennedy YJB – Mary Wyman NPD Criminal Justice Act Implementation Team ICCP/ISM National Reference Group

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